How does negative experience sharing influence happiness in online brand community? A dual-path model

Zhimin ZHOU, Ge ZHAN*, Nan ZHOU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Consumers share negative brand experience in many occasions to vent their emotion and seek support. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of negative sharing on members’ happiness in online brand communities by drawing from two opposing constructs: social support and social exclusion.

Both survey and experiment methods were employed to test the conceptual model. Online survey data were collected from 1,015 mobile internet users.

The findings reveal that negative sharing may enhance a sharer’s happiness through online social support particularly for novice community members. The findings also indicate greater online social exclusion for experienced members than for novice members. These findings cast doubt on the widely held assumption that increased engagement in a community will always produces positive outcomes. The moderating effect of membership duration is confirmed with an experiment of MI’s brand community members.

Research limitations/implications
The study of happiness in online brand community sheds new light on consumer–brand and user–community relationships.

While most previous studies on negative sharing only explored the negative side of consequences, the authors contribute to this line of research by introducing both positive (social support) and negative (social exclusion) outcomes of negative reviews. The model also explains the conditions under which negative reviews enhance social support and social exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-590
JournalInternet Research
Issue number2
Early online date26 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful for the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos 71772126, 71832015, 71872115 and 71502111), Guangdong Provincial Major Scientific Research Projects (Grant No. 2016WZDXM006) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2016M600677).


  • Happiness
  • Negative review
  • Online brand community
  • Sharing
  • Social exclusion
  • Social support


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